2 days Rwanda gorilla tracking tour

gorilla in rwanda

Book this 2 day/1 night Rwanda gorilla tracking tour for the once in a lifetime opportunity of watching the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural jungle environment. There are only about 900 mountain gorillas left in the world and Rwanda is home to a third of them. Gorilla tracking or trekking in Rwanda is done in the Volcanoes National Park that is situated in the north of the country, which is only 2 hours of drive from Kigali City on a good paved road. The 2 day gorilla trip in Rwanda is therefore suitable for travelers with only a couple of days to spare in Rwanda such as the business travelers.  But also, the easy access to Volcanoes National Park from Kigali City and the airport makes it easy including the short Rwanda gorilla tour into your big African safari vacation.

Volcanoes National Park is part of the Virunga Mountains which are a chain of lush rolling volcanoes and these provide such a stunning backdrop to the gorilla tracking adventure!

Itinerary for the 2 day/1night Rwanda gorilla tour

Day 1 – transfer to Musanze/Volcanoes National Park

Today you shall be picked up from Kigali at 8am and depart for Musanze in the north of Rwanda. The journey from Kigali to Musanze/Volcanoes National Park is about 2 hours of driving, and it is a scenic trip as you will enjoy the dramatic landscape of lush rolling hills – you will see why Rwanda is called the land of a thousand hills. You will check into your room and spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Optional tour activities:

In the afternoon you can do one of the following activities:

  • Go on a 3 – 4 hour (half day) canoe trip on River Mukungwa (with Kingfisher Journeys) which is a perfect way of exploring the lush countryside near the Virungas and get an insight into the life of the local people in the countryside. For the keen birder there are lots of birds to record as you ride along the river.
  • Visit the twin lakes (burera and ruhondo) which are located in the foothills of the Virunga Mountains and do a 1 hour boat ride on the lake Burera and enjoy the stunning scenery of the lush rolling hills with the backdrop of the Virunga mountains.
  • Do cultural tour to the Gorilla Guardians Village to see the presentations of several Rwandan cultural and traditional practices including a traditional dance performance.

Accommodation options to choose from:

Budget –> La Locanda

Midrange –> Le Bamboo Gorilla Lodge

Upmarket –> Five Volcanoes Lodge/TheBishop’s House

Luxury –> Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge/Virunga Lodge

Meal Plan: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2 – Gorilla trekking tour and transfer back to Kigali

After early breakfast, you will transfer to the park office in Kinigi by 7am. Meet the park guides for the allocation of the gorilla groups.  There are 12 habituated gorilla groups available for the tracking adventure and no more than 8 people can be allocated for each gorilla group. The park guides shall brief you about the gorilla trekking etiquette and thereafter you shall drive to the park boundary where you start trekking into the jungle to find the gorillas. The time taken to find the gorillas is 2 to 3 hours, but can take less or more depending how the gorillas move while feeding. You will hike along relatively steep forested mountain which can be challenging if not fit.  There are porters that will be found at the park boundary for hire at $10 each and these can carry your backpack and may provide a push or pull if you meet a challenged spot. When you find the gorillas you will be allowed only 1 hour to watch them and follow them, after which you shall climb back to meet your driver and transfer to the lodge to refresh, check out and drive back to Kigali.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch

This tour includes:-

  • Tour car and tour driver driver/guide
  • All meals
  • Accommodation
  • Gorilla tracking permit ($1500)
  • Drinking water

Tour does not include:

  • Optional activities
  • Visa fees
  • Personal insurance
  • Airfares
  • Tips
  • All personal expenses such as laundry, phone bills, curio purchases

How to prepare for your Rwanda gorilla tracking trip:

  • Book and confirm your gorilla tour well in advance because the limited gorilla permits mean you can miss out on your preferred dates
  • Get into good fitness and prepare for a longer trek and to enable you enjoy the hike
  • Ensure you are free from contagious diseases such as cough and flue which can easily be transmitted to the gorillas since they share 98% DNA with humans. Otherwise if you are found to have any of these you shall not be allowed to do the tour
  • Essential items to bring for the trek include: good hiking shoes, long pants and long-sleeved shirt, rain jacket or poncho, insect repellent, sunscreen, gaiter, cap, and small backpack.
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